Asphalt is a common material that is used extensively for roadways. Furthermore, bituminous mixes have been used in railways, both as asphalt and as mortar. Different agencies and research institutes have investigated and suggested various applications. These studies indicate the benefits of bituminous material under railways, such as improving a substructure's stiffness and bearing capacity; enhancing its dynamic characteristics and response, especially under high-speed train loads; waterproofing the subgrade; protecting the top layers against fine contamination. These potential applications can improve the overall track structure performance and lead to minimizing settlement under heavy loads. They can also guarantee an appropriate response under high-speed loads, especially in comparison to a rigid slab track. This review paper documents the literature related to the utilization of asphalt and bituminous mixes in railway tracks. This paper presents a critical review of the research in the application of asphalt and bituminous mixes in railway tracks. Additionally, this paper reviews the design and construction recommendations and procedures for asphalt and bituminous mixes in railway tracks as practiced in different countries. This paper also provides case studies of projects where asphalt and bituminous mixes have been utilized in railway tracks. It is anticipated that this review paper will facilitate (1) the exchange of ideas and innovations in the area of the design and construction of railway tracks and (2) the development of unified standards for the design and construction of railway tracks with asphalt and bituminous mixtures.
Keywords: asphalt; asphalt concrete; bitumen; mortar; overlay; railway; slab track; underlay.